Son of a Son of a Sinner

Thoughts of a Christian…2000 years too late

Bye, Bye, Mr. Conan O’Bri – American Pie Parody

In light of Conan’s departure from The Tonight Show after a criminally short stint of eight months, I thought Don McLean’s ballad American Pie was an appropriate song to capture this sad moment in late night history.

Anyone who wants to perform and/or record this version, feel free. Just give Don and me some props for it. Enjoy, and KEEP COOL MY BABIES!:

Not too long ago…
I can still remember
How much Late Night used to make me smile.
And I knew if he had his chance
Conan would do the string dance
And he would make The Tonight Show worth my while.

But January made me shiver
From monologues, blogs, and Twitter
Bad news on the internet
All that I could do was fret

Execs would give Jay a second try
And push Conan back to 12:05
But their requests were humbly denied
Then, the laughter died.

So, bye-bye, Mr. Conan O’Bri’ (like ‘pie’)
Your show made a wax Tom Cruise fly
Max and the band are drinking whiskey and rye
While Andy just wants to get high
Andy just wants to get high…

By viewers you’re beloved,
Even though your boss gave you the shove
If the Network tells you so?
This scandal may have taken its toll,
but Coco refused to sell his soul,
and 32 mil is quite a lot of dough.

Well, I know the future may look grim
And your show lasted 1/13th as long as According to Jim
But please don’t sing the blues
Just ask Norm for some boo-OOZE!

As a host you may be a lame duck
But NBC is run by total schmucks,
At least they still have The Office and Chuck

Their ratings to provide.

I started singin’,
“Bye-bye, Mr. Conan O’Bri’.”
Your show made a wax Tom Cruise fly
Max and the band are drinking whiskey and rye
While Andy just wants to get high
Andy just wants to get high…

Now for six years I thought it had been known
That Johnny’s chair would be Conan’s and his alone
And that’s how it was supposed be.
The jester gave his word to the Ginger King
In a shirt made of denim jean
And a car made in 1933,

While the King was looking down
The jester stole his late night crown
The boardroom was adjourned
The Tonight Show would be returned.
While NBC has Community and Parks
And football on Sunday, after dark,
The network has finally “jumped the shark”
Today, the laughter died.

We were singin’,
“Bye-bye, Mr. Conan O’Bri’.”
Your show made a wax Tom Cruise fly
Max and the band are drinking whiskey and rye
While Andy just wants to get high
Andy just wants to get high…

Hustle bustle in this late night tussle
Conan kept flexing his comedic muscle,
Ratings are high and rising fast
But nothing can please the top brass
On Conan, they would rather pass
For the boring jester from the past

Now the SoCal air was sweet perfume
The Tonight Show Band played a lively tune
Conan got up to dance,
Oh, but he never got a chance!
‘Cause the suits claimed he lacked cross-demographic appeal
And the jester just refused to yield
The Tonight Show he up and stealed
The day the laughter died.

We started singin’,
“Bye-bye, Mr. Conan O’Bri’.”
Your show made a wax Fonzie fly
Max and the band are drinking whiskey and rye
While Andy just wants to get high
Andy just wants to get high…

Zucker thinks he put Conan in his place
And that he’ll be easy to replace
But he needs to think again
So come on: Coco be nimble, Coco be quick
Show’em that your pale skin is thick
‘Cause no host, against you, can contend

Oh, and I as watched him on the stage
Joined by Triumph and Kenneth the Page
The crowd began to yell
And bid one final farewell
As the laughs echoed long into the night
And every sketch was served up right
Conan’s antics have been a delight
It’s been one helluva ride.

We started singin’,
“Bye-bye, Mr. Conan O’Bri’.”
Your show made a wax Tom Cruise fly
Max and the band are drinking whiskey and rye
While Andy just wants to get high
Andy just wants to get high…

I told a girl I need to be amused
And I asked her what show followed the news
But she just smiled and turned away.
The dust settles on this Late Night War
Much like the one from years before
Conan’s Tonight Show was lost in the fray

And in the Tweets: celebrities screamed,
The fans cried, and Labamba dreamed
The show was never broken
What was NBC smokin’?
And the three men I admire most:
Letterman, Conan, and Carson’s ghost
So long as they have a show to host
The laughs will never die.

“Bye-bye, Mr. Conan O’Bri’.”
Your show made a wax Fonzie fly
Max and the band are drinking whiskey and rye
While Andy just wants to get high
Andy just wants to get high…

We were singin’,
“Bye-bye, Mr. Conan O’Bri’.”
Your show made a wax Tom Cruise fly
Max and the band are drinking whiskey and rye
While Andy just wants to get, shamana- HIIIIII!!!!!

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JACKPOT!!

JACKPOT!!

Download, listen, repeat:

http://www.christurc.org/catechism_horton.html

The Dark Knight: A Theological Review

Agent of Chaos

To preface this theological review of The Dark Knight, I think Christians tend to fall into opposite errors with respect to popular, secular culture. On the one hand, it is treated with paranoid suspicion or outright hostility by its detractors as a realm entirely controlled by Satan and his minions. On the other, it is wrongly treated as a suitable source for sermons and doctrine along with, or, in the worst cases, in lieu of, the Scriptures. I tend to take the middle road. Popular culture has its place, and its fruits can be enjoyed by Christians in their liberty with thanksgiving. Music, art, and storytelling in any medium can be entertaining, thought provoking, and even God-honoring. He created all things good. Beauty and truth can be creatively expressed even by those who are unregenerate. If one believes that God is sovereign, this should come as no surprise. Likewise, if enjoyment of such fair replaces our Christian duties of discipleship (Bible study, prayer, church attendance, good works, et al) they should be plucked out of our lives and cast from us as Christ commands. My goal with this review is to analyze some of the overarching themes (the nature of man, law, providence, morality, faith) raised in the film by looking at some of the crucial scenes. Caution: there are some spoilers.

I was reading an article where Christopher Nolan was describing his favorite scene in TDK: the interrogation scene between Batman and The Joker, hero vs. villain, good vs. evil. He said it was the hinge on which the whole movie turned. Or, to put it in terms the theologically Reformed can understand, it is the film’s doctrine of justification. In it, The Joker presents his own brand of chaotic nihilism. He spoke of the goodness (or lack thereof) of Gotham’s citizens,

“Their morals, their ‘code,’ it’s all a bad joke; dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. When the chips are down, these, uh, ‘civilized people’: they’ll eat each other. You see, I’m not a monster, I’m just ahead of the curve.”

When one grounds all hope and all authority in mankind, one must certainly reach The Joker’s bleak conclusions. If the law was conjured up within the mind of man, it is a bad joke. It is moral pretension. It has no ultimate power or intrinsic authority. However, the Scriptures declare that the moral law, the ultimate standard of goodness and purity, finds its origin in God. It is the product of the Ultimate Judge and is binding on all men. It is the bedrock for the laws of the state, itself instituted by God to bear the sword, to protect the innocent, and to punish the guilty. Civilization is a gift of God. It certainly is a means by which He restrains the evil of men.

Sadly, The Joker’s anthropology is more Biblical than that of many professing Christians. Man is NOT basically good. We are basically corrupt. Every aspect of our being is tainted and deformed by sin to one degree or another. This is often called total depravity, though a more apt term I’ve heard applied to it is radical corruption. We are not as evil as we could be, but there is not one aspect of our beings that is left unaffected by sin. Apart from God’s grace, we would indeed “eat each other.” So, too often, we see ourselves as “better” than the serial killers, the rapists, and the deviants of society. Horizontally, we may be better than The Jokers of the world. Vertically, however, we are all sinners deserving of God’s just condemnation. In comparison to God’s holy standard, we are all lawbreakers and criminals. We are the scum of the earth. That is why faith in Christ alone is so important. It is through faith in Christ, itself a gift from God, that Christ’s perfect righteousness is imputed to us. This allows us to stand before God blameless. For as Christ gives us His righteousness, so too did He take upon Himself our sin. He became sin and was crushed by God’s wrath that we might be saved from the Judgment. In terms of sin, we are all “monsters.” Despite this, God in His loving mercy still chose to save us.

The Joker continues to expound his twisted worldview in the hospital scene with Harvey Dent:

“I’m not a schemer. I like to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are…You were a schemer. You had plans, and look where that gotcha.”

A quick point, I know it wasn’t the script writer’s intention, but there is a droplet of truth here. We are all schemers. We are going to attend college here, we are going to do this, we are going to marry when we’re this age, have this many kids, live here, travel here, do this, do that, ad nauseam. God is the one who often shows “how pathetic our attempts to control things really are.” He alone is sovereign. While we should plan diligently, we must not do so assuming that we have the final say. God has measured our days. We shouldn’t delude ourselves into thinking that we can plan the time and the means by which we will come to God for our eternal destiny. The Scriptures declare that today is the day of salvation, now is the time to believe. Likewise Christ is the only way by which we may gain both acceptance by God and entrance into His heaven. Walking an aisle, signing a card, saying a prayer, getting baptized, taking communion, joining a church, singing a hymn, doing good deeds, and “living a good life” won’t save the first soul from hell. Only God-given faith in Christ can accomplish such a feat.

The Joker goes on:

“See, I’ve noticed something. Nobody panics when things go ‘according to plan,’ even if the plan is horrifying. If I told the press that tomorrow like a gangbanger would get shot, or a truck load of soldiers would be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all ‘part of the plan.’ But if I say that one little old mayor will die, then everyone loses their minds! Introduce a little anarchy; upset the established order and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos.”

Hear we see the philosophical conclusion of an atheistic worldview, or at least a worldview with a non-Biblical god. The Bible declares that God is dread sovereign over the entire universe. He has the hairs on our heads numbered; he knows when a sparrow falls to the ground dead. We may see mayhem erupt in riots, wars, and other violence, but God remains in total control of every atom in Creation. Though God is not the author of sin and evil, He still may use these things to accomplish His purposes. We need look no further than the Cross for evidence of this. The Crucifixion of Jesus was the most evil act ever perpetrated by the hand of man. Pure innocence was executed. Jesus was murdered. By killing Jesus, His accusers and executioners committed cold-blooded murder in the first degree. However, out of this murderous act, God brought salvation. What men meant for evil, God meant for good.

However, while The Joker is the antagonist of the film, the film’s hero has a faulty worldview as well. So do the other ‘good’ characters. In her letter to Bruce, Rachel, lets him know that she has chosen to marry Harvey. She also says something worth examining:

“If you lose your faith in me, please, don’t lose your faith in people.”

Now, this seems like a kind letter that seeks to “let Bruce off easy,” but the final statement is truly foolish. We must not put ultimate faith in people, starting with ourselves. We are people of deceitful hearts and unclean lips. It is in Christ alone in whom we must place our faith if we hope to endure all trials and tribulations.

The end of the film has Batman delivering an interesting last line:

“Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded. Sometimes people deserve more.”

Gordon and Batman had “bet it all” on Harvey Dent. The Joker told Batman that he had brought Gotham’s “White Knight” down to “our level.” If people were to know the crimes of Two-Face, then they would lose hope in what Gordon and Batman stood for, or so the protagonists assumed.

That is the overarching flaw of the film’s outlook on human existence. If man is the measure of all things; if God is not given his proper place, then The Joker will ultimately have the last laugh. If we put our faith in our government, our military, our wealth, our health, our family, our spouse, our children, our own moral performance, our heritage, or ourselves we will be eternally disillusioned. All these things, though good, cannot provide ultimate satisfaction or security. Only God can do that. Truth, Biblical Truth, is always good enough. People do not need to have their faith rewarded if that faith’s object is anything but the Living Triune God. Such faith should be torn down and exposed for what it is: a lie. The faith of Christians is the only faith that will bring reward. Not because of the faith itself but because of whom that faith is in: Jesus. We may not deserve Jesus, but He is the “something more” we all desperately need.

One scene from which I do draw inspiration in my Christian walk is the scene in the Bat Bunker before Bruce decides to turn himself in:

-Bruce: People are dying, Alfred. What would you have me do?

-Alfred: Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of Batman. He can make the choice no one else will make, the right choice.

Many Christians, like me, who struggle with assurance and sin would benefit if we would take to heart the numerous Biblical passages that tell us to persevere in the faith. Knowing that our salvation is a free gift and that we are free from both the dominion and condemnation of sin, what will we now do? Turn ourselves back over to the world, the flesh, and the devil? God forbid! The world may hate us for it, but we must take it.

Let us press on to the goal keeping our eyes fixed on the Cross. Let us endure.

In conclusion, I loved The Dark Knight. It is a cinematic masterpiece. It raises the right questions that most movies shy away from even if it doesn’t offer the right answers.

"Endure, Master Wayne..."

Sketchbook: Tebow, He…Is…MAN!

I like to do drawerings. I’m also a Florida Gators fan. I was born and raised in Lake City, FL: the original home of UF, until the town of Gainesville offered them free water and the university moved 45 minutes south. Meh, I’m over it, especially since it happened over a century ago.

Out football team has produced three Heisman trophies: Steve Spurrier in ’66, Danny Wuerffel in ’96, and Tim Tebow in ’07. All QBs…all the sons of ministers. The former two, Presbyterian ministers, so, that’s cool. Tebow’s dad is an evangelical Baptist. Nobody’s perfect, o’course. Despite this, Timmy has had a pretty charmed career. His seeming invincibility and stellar performance elicited omparisons to the Man of Steel early on. So, taking some inspiration from graphic novel artist Alex Ross, I capitalized on all the Superman rhetoric and drew this:

tebow

 Tebow has received both criticism and praise for wearing his faith on his sleeve, or rather, his cheek. While many high profile athletes make empty professions of faith and vain confessions of Christ, Tebow’s faith seems to be refreshingly genuine. Our pastor’s son plays with Tim.  He confirms that while in the pile after a play, lots of choice words and trash talk is heard from members of both teams. However, all Tim ever has to say is “good hit” or “nice tackle.” I am certainly against idolizing athletes or anyone else for that matter, but I do have a healthy respect for Tebow not only as a football player but as a brother in Christ as well. The Daily Planet covers his exploits here.

Daily Dose of Buffett: Son of a Son of a Sailor

Mix your frozen concoctions and turn up your speakers for your Daily Dose of Buffett (one of the few medicines that you can take with alcohol…in fact, we recommend it):

Setting Sail

I’m  converting to WordPress, so for past posts, go to reformedparrothead.blogspot.com.

Come Sail Away with me, lads.